Even the great Roman Empire couldn't last forever...
So it's only fitting that Mighty Distance Running Dynasties also have their downfalls. This will be the beginning of the end for Kenyan dominance. The Ethiopians have their number and will take over (already have).
The Kenyans have lost so much. From their own betraying them and defeating them in their event, the 3000m SC, to getting beaten in another event they totally owned for so long(team and individual), XC. They got embarrassed at the last track WC's as well.
I feel Kiprop will lead Uganda to an uprising as well. The Kenyans won't know what hit them. They got so jaded from all those years of team dominance in distance running.
There is a smell of change in the air my friends, even we can beat Kenyans now, they have lost their cloak of invincibility.
Even the great Roman Empire couldn't last forever...
In fact, the warning signs have been up for a little while. The Kenyans are still good - very good - but their era of dominance is coming to end.
Men's 800m. Final. World Athletics Championships 2003
1. Djabir SAID-GUERNI (ALG) 1:44.81
2. Yuriy BORZAKOVSKIY (RUS) 1:44.84
3. Mbulaeni MULAUDZI (RSA) 1:44.90
4. Wilson KIPKETER (DEN) 1:45.23
5. Andrea LONGO (ITA) 1:45.43
6. Justus KOECH (KEN) 1:45.63
7. Hezekiel SEPENG (RSA) 1:45.74
8. Osmar Barbosa DOS SANTOS (BRA) 1:46.28
Men's 1500m. Final. World Athletics Championships 2003
1. Hicham EL GUERROUJ (MAR) 3:31.77
2. Mehdi BAALA (FRA) 3:32.31
3. Ivan HESHKO (UKR) 3:33.17
4. Paul KORIR (KEN) 3:33.47
5. Rui SILVA (POR) 3:33.68
6. Reyes ESTEVEZ (ESP) 3:33.84
7. Gert-Jan LIEFERS (NED) 3:33.99
8. Fouad CHOUKI (FRA) 3:34.05
Men's 5000m. Final. World Athletics Championships 2003
1. Eliud KIPCHOGE (KEN) 12:52.79 (CR)
2. Hicham EL GUERROUJ (MAR) 12:52.83
3. Kenenisa BEKELE (ETH) 12:53.12
4. John KIBOWEN (KEN) 12:54.07
5. Abraham CHEBII (KEN) 12:57.74
6. Gebre-egziab GEBREMARIAM (ETH) 12:58.08
7. Richard LIMO (KEN) 13:01.13
8. Zersenay TADESSE (ERI) 13:05.57
Men's 10,000m. Final. World Athletics Championships 2003
1. Kenenisa BEKELE (ETH) 26:49.57 (CR)
2. Haile GEBRSELASSIE (ETH) 26:50.77
3. Sileshi SIHINE (ETH) 26:50.77
4. Abdullah Ahmad HASSAN (QAT) 27:18.28
5. John Korir CHERUIYOT (KEN) 27:19.94
6. Wilberforce TALEL (KEN) 27:33.60
7. Charles KAMATHI (KEN) 27:45.05
Men's Marathon. World Athletics Championships 2003
1. Jaouad GHARIB (MAR) 2:08:31 (CR)
2. Julio REY (ESP) 2:08:38
3. Stefano BALDINI (ITA) 2:09:14
4. Alberto CHAICA (POR) 2:09:25
5. Shigeru ABURAYA (JPN) 2:09:26
6. Daniele CAIMMI (ITA) 2:09:29
7. Ian SYSTER (RSA) 2:10:17
8. Michael ROTICH (KEN) 2:10:35
Men's 3000m. Steeplechase Final. World Athletics Championships 2003
1. Saif Saaeed SHAHEEN (QAT) 8:04.39
2. Ezekiel KEMBOI (KEN) 8:05.11
3. Eliseo MARTIN (ESP) 8:09.09
4. Bouabdallah TAHRI (FRA) 8:10.65
5. Abraham CHERONO (KEN) 8:13.37
6. Luis Miguel MARTIN (ESP) 8:13.52
7. Simon VROEMEN (NED) 8:13.71
8. Jose Luis BLANCO (ESP) 8:17.16
It's merely track and field evolution at work. How many other nations enjoyed running success for years before their federation f**ked things up through greed, corruption, cronyism, nepotism, lethargy, and incompetence? The USA? UK? Ireland? Germany? New Zealand?
Kenya is still very good but their success has bred fatcats who are riding the laurels of their athletes without investing in the future. Mike Kosgei is Kenya's Ollan Cassell. Meanwhile, Ethiopia remains hungry and focused on a national goal rather than exploiting Geb, Bekele, and a few others to line some sports bureaucrat's pockets. Kenya - good luck following the USATF / Athletics UK model!
Me sees plenty of Kenyan folks in the finals you just listed,
Granted, the Eth. athletes are winning more at this time.
What are you guys smoking!!!!!!!!!! KENYA DONE!!!
Get real. Wake up. Sure, the Ethopians are kicking ass, but if you put these guys in a head to head meet with the Kenyans, thay would get their asses handed to them big time.
They don't have anyone that can run the quarter, they have 1 800 guy, no real 1500 threat and the steeple, next question.
Hats off to the top three guys this year, but they do not have Kenya's depth. Screwed up federation or not.
Look at the results of the British runners in the finals at the World Champs in 83. (In 2003 no Britons finished in the top 8 of any distance event - nothing lasts forever.)
Mens - 800m Final
August 09, 1983
4.Peter Elliott (GBR) 1:44.87
Mens - 1,500m Final
August 14, 1983
1.Steve Cram(GBR) 3:41.59
4.Steve Ovett (GBR) 3:42.34
Mens - 10,000m Final
7.Nick Rose(GBR) 28:07.53
Mens - Marathon Final
8.Hugh Jones(GBR) 2:11:15
Mens - 3,000m Steeplechase Final
3.Colin Reitz(GBR) 8:17.75
5.Roger Hackney(GBR) 8:19.38
6.Graeme Fell(GBR) 8:20.01
The so called POOR KENYAN,
My good friend,
Just because the Ethiopians have dominated cross country for the last three years doesn't fulfill your prophecy.
Ethiopia can and does produce pedigree runners- just like Morocco with Khannouchi and Hicham or Kenya with Kiptanui moses, Komen and Tergat. Take the case of Haile. HE is undoubtedly the finest distance runner so far but does that make Ethiopia the best???? No! it has been Kenya.
now, they have about 5 very good runners but 5 runners cannot in any way make a country the best in the world.
remember, we won cross country for a cool 12 years. Ethiopia has done it three years.
We are down but not out.
we reign from the 800 meters to the marathon and everything in between.
Ethiopia looks very good for the 5000 and 10000 meters men and women but that's just about it.
Now, don't get me wrong. we are wounded and need a quick strategy but we are in no way threatened by anyone at the moment to warrant a crisis management.
The Ethiopians have been great in the last three years and deserve our kudos.
You keep saying "we", are you Kenyan?
Also, I see the dominance in shorter-middle distances vanishing, so Kenyans are forced to receed back to longer and longer distances.
Greed and corruption happens all over the world, if you are unfortunate enough to be in the middle of it, I assure you...you and your programme(track) will falter and evaporate in due time. This is why the US had a less than good showing at World Indoors.
The reason why British and US had glory days in the past was not because of lack of talent, it was because of the people who were responsible for bringing up that talent, the coaches, the USATF/British powers-to-be,etc.. when you get too much of a good thing you tend to get jaded and assume that it will always be the glory-days. When in fact, you must work twice as hard to maintain and develop the talent pool. Especially when you have had such talented specimens as Coe and Ovett and Cram come through your stable, so to speak.
Now, Kenya had way too much of a good thing and the Europeans/(Australians!) are catching up. Look at who won the women's xc. All it takes is a few victories here and there and more and more non-Kenyans are gonna say "hey, that person did it, I can too...these guys are not invincible."
We all know now how the Kenyans train, what they eat, etc..there is nothing they do we don't know about. Train hard, and win easy.
poor Kenyans wrote:
...We all know now how the Kenyans train, what they eat, etc..there is nothing they do we don't know about. Train hard, and win easy.
It will be tougher for the European, Asian, American men to catch up. They are not let get away with drug use like the E. Africans (talke with Lagat, for example). Of course, American sprinters get away with murder, but the federation backs them because TV loves them.
The Kenyans have already done away with trials for the Olys, etc. They will probably do the same for Cross. They will also do their best to match the Ethiopian drug protocol, as the medical people are having a free for all experimenting in E. Africa, knowing that the IAAF won't bother them.
Good call! Drugs is the only explanation for why one country could dominate in all of the divisions at the cross champs. Every last one of them, junior girls and boys included must be juiced to the gills...
Fellas, the failure of the Kenyan team this year can be traced to 2 things:
1. The Ethiopians are better than they have ever been.
2. Mike Kosgei wasn't coaching the team this year.
It was Patrick Sang's softer approach that likely led to the awful Kenyan performances we saw last weekend. Kosgei should be brought back as the permanent coach of that team.
An idiot using the name "makes sense!" wrote
Good call! Drugs is the only explanation for why one country could dominate in all of the divisions at the cross champs. Every last one of them, junior girls and boys included must be juiced to the gills... ass.
Only a fool would believe that the Ethiopian jr. champ is really a junior. One look at him ... and his 7th place in last year's Senior's race says a lot.
Drugs are probably part of the explanation. Talent plus the proper drug protocol(s) will beat talent on its own every time. Look at the Kenyans. Their probably crappin' in their shorts to get hold of Repoxygen or whatever. Everyone else is out in the cold, as they KNOW they'll actually be tested, or actually have to face punishment if caught, unlke E. Africans. That's the agenda.
My idea is that it's taken approx. ten years (since the fall of Ethiopia's tyrannical red gov't under which 1,000,000+ Ethiopians opposed to the gov't were killed or "disappeared", in addition to those who suffered and died from famine) for Ethiopia's national program to have full affect. They train and race as a team. I don't know too many other nations that do that. The national team is coached by Kostre and all the club coaches get their education from Kostre -- everyone's doing the same, and correct, training. If you look at Haile G's training schedule it's eerily Lydiard-esque. I read it off to Peter Snell a few weeks back and he remarked, "Yes, that sounds familiar." The Ethiopians train like monks and as a team. They make coordinated efforts, forming strategies and plans months out from the major championship, with the expressed intent of winning everything in site for Ethiopia. Renato said that Hermens told him just before the 2003 WC 10000m that Gebrselassie was going to take the lead and drop a 2:35 4th km. That's team work; he sacrificed his own very real gold medal ambitions to bring a long the two younger ones. They coordinate efforts in all major championships to win and the effects of their efforts are being felt back in Nairobi.
To me, the drugs answer is a weak response. The idea that a nation with direction, talent, desire and training can't outclass the world without artificial assitance is ridiculous to me. The difference between Ethiopia 2003-2004 and Ma's Army was that Ethiopia has been building on this for some time now; slowly chipping away at those ahead of them, wheras China came from completely no where, destroyed the rest of the world for exactly one year and disappeared.
The Ethiopians train smart -- they don't overtrain and their goals are on major championships; not individual financial aspirations. All training and racing is targeted at the major championship at hand -- they run 150mpw, have lived at altitude since the existence of man, train LT, VO2Max, basic speed, long endurance, all the systems. And they will continue to kick everyone's ass until someone else copies their methods. People complain about the USA's poor showing at WCCC; let's coordinate our efforts, have all prospective athletes train under the same coach and tactically plan to win a team medal. If you want it bad enough, you'll be willing to do the work and earn the results.
Ma's "army" ran for quite a bit longer than just one year.
There are no coaches in the U.S. qualified to coach everyone the same way.
all good points....and you may be right on all counts.
I don't like raising the drug issue as there are already way, way, way too many yahoos on this board who reflexively point to that every time someone takes down one of their old high school PRs, but I don't think speculation is completely out of bounds. I have little trouble believing their success comes from hard work, talent and a good program, but at the same time, news that they'd tested positive for something wouldnt come as a total shock either. I hope that's not the case... And while it's true Ethiopia has been chipping away at Kenya for a while now, the odd thing (to me at least) is that they seem to have gone from near parity to total domination in about 2 or 3 yrs.
Given the large pools of talent in both countries, I would expect them to be roughly equal overall w/ various standouts dominating from time to time. Close competition between between two powerhouses. . That's not what seems to have happened though. Three Ethiopians nearly lapped the entire 10k field in the last WC's and Ethiopia completely dominated at all levels this past weekend. Maybe it's a case of Kenya being in a particularly bad stretch and Ethiopia being in a great one. Hard to tell.
Training and living at altitude are common to both programs. Kenyans train like monks and as part of a team too, maybe not for as long as the Ethiopians, but they're intent on doing well as a team and as individuals. No doubt Ethiopia's program is more focused, but is that enough to account for this apparent dominance?
The key differences I see between Kenyan and Ethiopian runners are individualism and intensity.
Individualism in that Kenyans are all coached by different coaches. They are coached by Kenyans by Europeans by Americans, etc. and all with their own plans and motives. They're going to target whatever races they see fit and not necessarily the major int'l championship. This also relates to the fact that there is much less of a "team" component. There are training groups but there are MANY different groups with different coaches whereas Ethiopia has a unified coaching structure and unified methods for championship planning and preparation which seem to be working.
Intesnity in that I hear that Kenyans at camps preparing for meetings like World cross get the shit kicked out them. If they don't race well, it must mean that they need to be worked harder -- it's brutal; so much of it is just fighting to do well in workouts/timetrials that you run your race in practice instead. Ethiopians have no where near that kind of internal competition or intensity. If you look at Geb's training schedule, most of it is pretty easy (with respect to his PRs). He may be running 140+mpw but most of it is cruising. He has no more than 12 hard workouts a month and his overall mileage average is around 6min/mi (right between aerobic conditioning and recovery pace for him). He's working, but he's not getting the shit kicked out of him. In Kenya it's, "MORE WORKOUTS!" and when they perform poorly it's, "MORE WORKOUTS!" Of course I'm generalising (coaches like Renato coach in a smart fashion that doesn't depress the athletes), but from all I have read about their training camps and national coaching, that's the case.
The so called POOR KENYANS,
Yes, I am Kenyan. I hail from the Rift Valley.
The real problem of Kenyans in WCCCh is that nobody was in shape. You must not look at Ethiopians, but at other athletes. For example, I (now I'm coach of Qatar) was surprised to win silver in short, but this was possible not only for Hassan and Shaheen (4th - 5th), but for the 8th place of Sultan (a 19 years old from Burundi, already in Qatar from 13 years, training with my group in Kenya from January) that has 13:33 of personal best, and also for position 22-23 of the othertwo guys (13:33 / 13:56 PB). So, if Sultan is n. 8, and Chebii 19 - Kibowen 32, the problem are not Ethiopians, but the preparation of Kenyan team.
I want to say my opinion :
1) In Kenya, nobody (from AK) follows the best athletes during the season. So, the best during National Ch. (or trials on track) are in top shape because of their personal coaches, and a good technical management. Nobody knows their type of training, and nobody asks their type of training. When there is the Residential Camp, all the athletes go for 3-5 weeks there, meeting new National coaches. To the personal coaches is forbidden to go into the camp. Training is a training of group, without asking anything about their methodology, and without considering the current shape of the athletes. So, who already was in top shape (as Chebii and Kibowen, n. 1/2 in Nationals) goes down very quickly (they were the worst of the team in WCh), who is not yet in shape can improve. If AK doesn't change this system, they can find big difficulties in winning some medal in the future.
2) Nobody wants to analyze the real reasons of a defeat.
Always the fault is of managers (they burn athleteswith somany competitions) or of personal coaches. But who is able to guide the athletes to be the best during trials ?
Some example : last year, Michael Kipyego was the first kenyan athlete in the history NOT ABLE TO REACH THE FINAL IN 3000 SC. He competed in Europe only once, at the beginning of June, then trained always in Kenya.
AK said that marathon runners were not able to win some medal because of personal coaches, so the new choice was to put together a lot of athletes for long time in a resisdential camp in Kapsabet, to select the best PREPARED IN SPECIFIC WAY FOR WCh. Result : 5 athletes, 4 retired. One woman, 1 retired. The only good were Catherine Ndereba (training in US) and Joyce Chepchumba (training in St. Moritz).
This year, Bekele competed more times than Kipchoge, Chebii, Kibowen and other kenyans. Also with a world indoor record. So, is not this one the reason, but a big confusion in technical management, with the exclusion of the real coaches of the athletes.
3) From 2-3 years, there is too much pressure on the athletes, for facing Ethiopians. Is not possible to continue to say "we are prepared for beating Bekele, we try to train harder for beating Bekele, we are studying a special tactic for beating Bekele". Normal Kenyan people don't know anyhing about athletics, except what journalists write. And journalists write what official say. Is more serious to explain that an athlete like Bekele is unbeatable, because is one of those athletes (like Michael Johnson or Bubka) that born once every 30 years.
So, the athletes were too tight mentally and oppressed for competing well. Only who had not many responsabilities (like Eliud Kirui or Isaac Songok, for example) was able to compete at his real level.
4) The full lack of experience of the National coaches. Think that all the team arrived with nails 7 mm long (and many athletes had 3mm nails on their shoes), as nobody thought that in Belgium a cross could be muddy. In the best team of the world, this fact is unacceptable.
5) The costume of speaking about tactic like it was the most important thing. But tactic is something that the best can choose, not other athletes. So, Bekele can decide his tactic, not Wilberforce Talel. The real problem is to have athletes able to be competitive INDIVIDUALLY, then is possible to build some strategy. But, when the Etiopians are able to run the second 5 km in 12'57" and the best PB of the kenyans in the race is 13'03", what is the tactic ? Running is not cyclism, you must have legs for yourself, and nobody can help you when you are weaker.
6) The calendar, that is not good for the best events. For example, in 2002 John Korir ran 7 times 10000m on track, never 5000 and once 3000m, and 6 of the 7 races of 10000m were for Army or Kenyan Federation. This is the best way for burning an athlete, not the choices of the manager.
If you want to use trials for selecting runners, you have only two possibilities :
a) To do trials 2 MONTHS BEFORE THE EVENT, for selecting a rose of 10/12 runners, then to control them with some short period of stage and some competition in Europe, then to select who is in better shape only 10 days before the Championships
b) To do trials only 2 WEEKS BEFORE WORLD CH:, so, who is in shape is in shape.
Who is the more happy if an athlete is able to win a medal in World Championships : the athlete himself, his manager, his coach, his Federation ? Everyone has the same goal.
Looking at long race, how many Eritreans were in top 10, while Richard Limo was n. 32 ?
So, the real problem of Kenyans are not Ethiopians : are Kenyans (speaking about the technical organization of AK).
It's the swing of the pendulum. No one stays at the top of anything forever. The Ethiopians are on the upswing right now, big deal.
Heck, if the E. Africans lose the 'pc' protection of officials trying to help the 'poor' and other officials looking the other way when it comes to drugs, the pendulum could swing toward N. Africa, or Europe or Asia.